I had known him all my life, and I thought I knew him. He was broadly tolerant, though he liked to grumble. He was cynical about most things, and had a wry sense of humour. He was polite and knew how to behave with my friends. I loved his creativity – he made some fantastic music, he knew all the best bands, he made me laugh so much. He taught loads of my friends to play football, introduced them to rugby, even got some of them into cricket! I know, sounds impossible, but he was like that. And he believed in fair play and that taking part was more important than winning. He had liberal values, he was vaguely irreligious, and he poked fun at pomposity.
OK, so occasionally he got a bit lairy when he’d had too much to drink, and maybe I shouldn’t have overlooked that, but on the big occasions he made me proud.
And now I’m finding that I was so, so wrong. He’s not like that at all. He’s aggressive. He’s a racist bully. He wants to go back in time to some mythical past when he was young and the world was wonderful, and he shouts abuse at anybody who tries to question that. He’s cut me off from all my friends. He says I’m lazy and indecent. He’s a thuggish bully, he’s wilfully ignorant, and he’s shit at football.
So now I’m wondering what I get out of this relationship. What’s in it for me? Because if this is all there is, maybe it’s time to cut my losses.